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Can someone explain the Howl of the Devil-Tiger to me?

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  • Can someone explain the Howl of the Devil-Tiger to me?

    I have read the main tenets in the KotE book, that "Devil-Tigers do not worship devils, they want to become devils", and that "Devil-Tiger temples crawl with atrocities - from skewered babies to maimed slaves - and ring with obscene chants and discordant music"

    And I was under the impression that they only punish sinners (according to Kuei-Jin classifications, which are related, but not totally in agreement with Daoist tenets).

    With all that being said, how are Devil-Tigers evil? They only punish evildoers, and why would Devil Tigers skewer babies? Or as the dharmabook opening comic shows, rape a woman?

  • #2
    Well, the short version is that they don't punish sinners in the sense of finding bad people and making them pay for their moral crimes. They punish sinners as a totality by filling the world with evil to torment sinners as a whole. They also do all sorts of evil things to hone their evil-doing skills.

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    • #3
      But what about the baby bit, which I'm curious about to. What sins could innocent babies even be culpable for to have them be skewered (or is it just hyperbole from the book for dramatics)?


      Jade Kingdom Warrior

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
        But what about the baby bit, which I'm curious about to. What sins could innocent babies even be culpable for to have them be skewered (or is it just hyperbole from the book for dramatics)?
        Partially hyperbole perhaps, but it's not uncommon, especially in gothic horror, for the sins of parents (or ancestors) to be visited upon the children. Likewise, killing someone's children or other decedents is a way of inflicting punishment upon the parent or ancestor.
        There's also the issue of Buddhist reincarnation, in which even newborns are still carrying the spiritual baggage of their past lives. The concept of hells specifically for children, such as Sai no Kawara (the Children's Riverbank Hell where child souls are forced to endlessly stack piles of stones only for oni to come and knock them over), do exist. These children are often comforted by Jizo (aka Ksitigarbha), the Buddhist bodhisattva who is patron of children living and dead, as well as teacher to those trapped in the various hells.
        Then there is a thing in Thailand about "adopting" child spirits, originally in amulets or foetal corpses, but now sometimes in other objects, to give one access to their supernatural power to aid in protection and prosperity (and to a certain degree companionship). So there may be factions of Devil Tigers (and even some Bone Shadows) who collect the ghost spirits of dead children as servants or to power certain objects.

        I should also note that Devil Tigers are likely to frequently test each other in the same way they do mortals to insure that they are being righteous monsters who carry out atrocities for the proper reasons rather than for petty or selfish ones.


        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post
          I have read the main tenets in the KotE book, that "Devil-Tigers do not worship devils, they want to become devils", and that "Devil-Tiger temples crawl with atrocities - from skewered babies to maimed slaves - and ring with obscene chants and discordant music"

          And I was under the impression that they only punish sinners (according to Kuei-Jin classifications, which are related, but not totally in agreement with Daoist tenets).

          With all that being said, how are Devil-Tigers evil? They only punish evildoers, and why would Devil Tigers skewer babies? Or as the dharmabook opening comic shows, rape a woman?
          Like a lot of things in WoD, Inconsistent writing and disagreements in vision between authors.

          As makes sense in setting, Devil Tigers are trying to become yama kings that actually do their job properly(punishing sinners). Like No One of Consequence said, "Sinners" can be a bit of a loose term that's up to interpretation, but most of the baby eaters should really be getting smacked down with acts of blindness like the in comic for the devil-tiger dharma-book.

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          • #6
            Context is always important. Devil Tigers are ex-humans who throw their humanity away in order to become demons. They're expected to be able to engage in monstrous behavior without flinching (indeed, feeling guilty, bad or terrible as they punish sinners is going to cause them to experience moments of blindness).

            When Devil Tigers begin their training, they're forced to engage in all sorts of horrific activities, both experiencing those themselves and also inflicting them on others. They need to be able to reach a point where they can casually engage in such actions without feeling guilty about it. This is actually pretty hard for most people, because most people have some level of morality that makes it so that they don't want to hurt other people. Being able to train yourself to kill someone on a battlefield is one thing, but training someone to be able to casually inflict the kind of horrific tortures Devil Tigers are expected to commit without feeling even the tiniest bit bad about it is something else.

            So making young Devil Tigers engage in the most morally heinous behavior (such as torturing helpless babies) is simply a practical method of forcing the would-be Devil Tiger to throw away their own humanity and engage in activities that no human would be able to do. That way they can torture some drug pusher to death and think to themself, "Whatever. I've done worse things to people who didn't deserve it, and you do."

            So that's where the context comes into play. Skewering babies just for kicks is going to see a Devil Tiger fall to their Po pretty quickly. But skewering babies as a method of training and teaching in order to better help a Devil Tiger understand and prepare for their proper role under Heaven as a demon who engages in the most horrific of acts is... a little bit different.

            It's why you're more likely to see that kind of behavior at Devil Tiger temples (where they're going to be training new recruits) than Devil Tigers doing that kind of crap out in the field.
            Last edited by AnubisXy; 12-10-2020, 10:16 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
              So making young Devil Tigers engage in the most morally heinous behavior (such as torturing helpless babies) is simply a practical method of forcing the would-be Devil Tiger to throw away their own humanity and engage in activities that no human would be able to do. That way they can torture some drug pusher to death and think to themself, "Whatever. I've done worse things to people who didn't deserve it, and you do."
              But the act itself of punishing someone undeserving is against the dharma tenets... You can not train anyone this way because your training goes against your dharma.

              I don't want to make the Devil-Tigers the "good guys", since they are willing to do evil stuff to human beings but their tenets (as written in the books) clearly state that the victims must be evil themselves.

              That's where the cognitive dissonance kicked in, seeing a Devil-Tiger rape an innocent woman for no damn reason, or talking about murdered babies. It is like reading something about an Akuma, "Mwahahah I am evil because of reasons".
              Last edited by lbeaumanior; 12-10-2020, 04:29 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post

                But the act itself of punishing someone undeserving is against the dharma tenets... You can not train anyone this way because your training goes against your dharma.

                I don't want to make the Devil-Tigers the "good guys", since they are willing to do evil stuff to human beings but their tenets (as written in the books) clearly state that the victims must be evil themselves.

                That's where the cognitive dissonance kicked in, seeing a Devil-Tiger rape an innocent woman for no damn reason, or talking about murdered babies. It is like reading something about an Akuma, "Mwahahah I am evil because of reasons".
                To be fair, the comic seemed to suggest that the Devil-Tiger in question was hit with an act of blindness for that and is told from the perspective of the moment he recovers his dharma. So in context, Yes, he was acting like an akuma rather than a devil-tiger and was punished by heaven for it.

                On another note, Dharmas aren't a set of rules that one is suppose to follow rigidly, they're guidlines for achieving enlightenment. Wan Kuei are supposed to feel around, make mistakes and understand why the rules exist in the first place in order to achieve greater understanding. The core book for KotE even mentions this, saying that there isn't a resplendent-crane(nominal good guy dharma) bodhivastta that hasn't "Boiled a child and stepped back to understand Why they did it".

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Prometheas View Post

                  To be fair, the comic seemed to suggest that the Devil-Tiger in question was hit with an act of blindness for that and is told from the perspective of the moment he recovers his dharma. So in context, Yes, he was acting like an akuma rather than a devil-tiger and was punished by heaven for it.

                  On another note, Dharmas aren't a set of rules that one is suppose to follow rigidly, they're guidlines for achieving enlightenment. Wan Kuei are supposed to feel around, make mistakes and understand why the rules exist in the first place in order to achieve greater understanding. The core book for KotE even mentions this, saying that there isn't a resplendent-crane(nominal good guy dharma) bodhivastta that hasn't "Boiled a child and stepped back to understand Why they did it".

                  It wasn't necessarily an act of blindness for Ichirou to do that; it was a definite moment of enlightenment when he realized why he felt so empty at his actions after reflecting on them for some time. The period when a Devil-Tiger learns what grand evil they're supposed to be is made up of these reflections at short-sighted failures to achieve, and is known as "picking up the devil".

                  Given the last page, though, they almost certainly continue to be terrible people after they pick up the devil. Even the Wonka-esque master-stroke NPC in the back of the book is likely not pleasant company, to say the least.

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                  • #10
                    I actually like the Devil-Tigers overall, though I prefer the Bone Flowers and the Thrashing Dragons.


                    “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her. She/her.

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                    • #11
                      Devil Tigers are my favourite Dharma, with the Bone Flowers at number 2.

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